Visit London Blog » les miserables http://blog.visitlondon.com Enjoy the very best of London Thu, 24 Apr 2014 09:00:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 Olivier Awards 2014: Almeida Theatre the big winner on the night http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/olivier-awards-2014-almeida-theatre-the-big-winner-on-the-night/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/olivier-awards-2014-almeida-theatre-the-big-winner-on-the-night/#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 12:51:16 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38413

The Royal Opera House hosted the 2014 Olivier Awards with Mastercard last night, where the cream of British theatre were saluted in a star-studded ceremony.

The show was opened by the company from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory before hosts Stephen Mangan and Gemma Arterton, who is due to star in Made in Dagenham at The Adelphi Theatre in October, got things underway. The first award was presented by the ever-cool James McAvoy and went to Ghosts for Best Revival at the Almeida Theatre.

The Almeida itself made plenty of headlines, beating off the bigger West End theatres with plays Ghosts and Chimerica scooping eight awards between them, including the American Airlines Best New Play award for Lucy Kirkwood’s political epic Chimerica.

South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone will be thrilled today, as their musical The Book of Mormon took away four awards, including Mastercard Best New Musical. Book of Mormon is one of the big winners that you can still catch on the West End stage, as its current run at the Prince of Wales Theatre doesn’t end until 3 May.

Other winners that can still be seen include Best New Comedy winner Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense, which has recently swapped leading man and last night’s host, Stephen Mangan for Robert Webb. You can also catch the Best Actress in a Musical Zrinka Cvitešic in Once at the Phoenix Theatre.

The prestigious BBC Radio 2 Audience Award went to Les Miserables for the second time, which of course can still be booked at The Queen’s Theatre.

The National Theatre continues to get the best out of its actors, with Rory Kinnear winning Best Actor for his portrayal of Iago in Othello and Sharon D Clarke named Best Actress in a Supporting Role for The Amen Corner.

The show was rounded off in style by ABBA’s Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus reuniting to celebrate 15 years of Mamma Mia!, in one of 14 live performances on the night.

See the highlight reel above for a quick look at the red carpet, including the dashing Tom Hiddleston, Kristin Davis of Sex and the City fame, host Gemma Arterton in a full-length pale blue Prada gown and even ballet stars Let Marianela and Thiago from our London Story competition.

Full highlights of the ceremony can be seen on ITV Player for the next 29 days.

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Best of London Theatre: 2014 Olivier Awards Nominees Announced http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/best-of-london-theatre-2014-olivier-awards-nominees-announced/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/best-of-london-theatre-2014-olivier-awards-nominees-announced/#comments Mon, 10 Mar 2014 15:24:20 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38072 Olivier Awards

The best of London’s theatre has been whittled down ahead of the Olivier Awards ceremony next month, with new musicals leading the way in the nominations revealed today.

New musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has gained seven nominations, while fellow newcomers The Book of Mormon and The Scottsboro Boys have six apiece.

Douglas Hodge as Willy Wonka with Jack Costello as Charlie and cast members. Photo by Helen MaybanksIt’s not just new shows that are hogging the limelight however, with the revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along also doing well with the voters, with seven nominations to its name. Nominees for the coveted BBC Radio 2 Audience Award include West End hits Les Misérables, Matilda the Musical, The Phantom of the Opera and Wicked.

Among the notable names up for individual gongs are Jude Law for his role as Henry V and Judi Dench as Alice in Peter and Alice, both at the Noel Coward Theatre. Renowned baritone Plácido Domingo also gains a nomination for his portrayal of the title character in Verdi’s Nabucco at the Royal Opera House.

The awards, which are run by the Society of London Theatre, recognise the best productions and performances of theatre shows, opera and dance over the previous year. This year’s glitzy awards gala will take place on 13 April at the Royal Opera House.

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Top 10 Long-Running London Theatre Shows http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/05/top-10-long-running-london-theatre-shows/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/05/top-10-long-running-london-theatre-shows/#comments Wed, 22 May 2013 10:00:41 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=32485 Some West-End shows come and go, while others become a permanent fixture on London’s theatre scene. To celebrate London Theatre Month, we’ve compiled a list of the longest-running plays and musicals that are currently playing in London’s West End.

The Mousetrap: 61 years
The Mousetrap is the world’s longest-running play, captivating London audiences since 1952. Packed with suspense, the classic whodunit takes place in a remote English country house hotel during a snow storm.

Les Miserables: 28 years
Now in its 28th year, Les Misérables is the longest running musical in the world.  This global stage sensation has been seen by more than 60 million people in 42 countries. Set in 19th-century France, Les Mis follows the plight of an ex-convict turned mayor who is hunted for decades by a ruthless policeman.

Phantom of the OperaThe Phantom of the Opera: 27 years
The Phantom of the Opera has reigned at Her Majesty’s Theatre for a whopping 27 years. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s epic musical, which opened on 9 October 1986,  tells the tale of a disfigured composer who terrorises the Paris Opera in an attempt to make his protégé a leading lady.

The Woman in Black: 24 years
The Woman in Black has been terrifying audiences since 1989, making it the second longest-running play in the history of the West End. Based on Susan Hill’s eponymous novel, the spooky show sees a malevolent ghost haunting a small English town, bringing devastation to the lives of anyone who lays eyes on it.

The Lion King: 14 years
Still a roaring success, The Lion King is celebrating its 14th year at London’s Lyceum Theatre. Bursting with colour and brilliant songs, the Disney-movie-turned-musical sees fearless lion cub Simba making his epic journey to fulfil his destiny as king of the lions. The Lion King is one of five musicals to play for 10 or more years on both Broadway and the West End.

Mamma Mia: 14 years
Mamma Mia is now well into its second decade, after first opening in the West End in 1999. Based on the catchy tunes of Swedish pop quartet ABBA and set on a Greek island paradise, this feel-good show follows a daughter’s quest to discover the identity of her father.

We Will Rock You: 11 years
Mega-musical We Will Rock You has been a permanent fixture at the Dominion Theatre since 2002. Based on the songs of rock legends Queen, the show is set in a futuristic world where rock music has been banned.

Stomp: 10 years
Celebrating its 10th year in London, Stomp has been kept fresh with new routines, choreography and music. As its title suggests, talented performers use everything from zippo lighters to bin lids to hammer out a feel-good rhythm.

Billy Elliot: 8 years
Billy Elliot has been dazzling London’s West End since 2005 with its heart-warming tale of a young boy who struggles against the odds to fulfil his dream of becoming a ballet dancer. The all-singing all-dancing musical features an acclaimed score by Elton John.

Wicked: 7 years
Wicked made its West End debut seven years ago in 2006. Still going strong, the show welcomed its five millionth audience member last month. The award-winning musical tells the story of an unlikely but profound friendship between two young trainee witches who meet at sorcery school.

Read more about all London’s theatre shows at visitlondon.com/theatre

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Thursday Theatre News: Pop Goes The Musical, Hampstead Downstairs and the Open Air Theatre http://blog.visitlondon.com/2012/08/thursday-theatre-news-pop-goes-the-musical-hampstead-downstairs-and-the-open-air-theatre/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2012/08/thursday-theatre-news-pop-goes-the-musical-hampstead-downstairs-and-the-open-air-theatre/#comments Thu, 16 Aug 2012 17:00:04 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=28616

A new charity initiative was launched this week that sees pop stars taking to the West End stage for special encores. Pop Goes The Musical raises money for Children in Need by offering special £80 tickets for fab West End shows, which are then followed by special performances by pop stars.

Tickets can be purchased exclusively at www.lastminute.com/pudsey and include a top price seat, signed programme, Pudsey bear toy, complementary drink and access to a VIP after show reception hosted by the famous bear himself.

Hampstead Downstairs has announced its autumn season this week. Three plays, Brain, Blue Sky and Ignorance will be produced by the theatre; both Brain and Ignorance are new shows, the first by writer Rona Munro; the second by Steve Waters. The space was created for new writers to showcase their work, so if you’re a fan of seeing and feeding back on new theatre, book now.

If you’re looking ahead to theatre production in London for the summer 2013, I’ve got some great news from the Open Air Theatre. Their summer season will contain a production of Harper Lee’s American classic To Kill A Mockingbird alongside the much-loved musical The Sound Of Music. Christopher Sergel’s adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Mockingbird will play from 16 May to 15 June. And the Von Trapp family will be encouraging you to Climb Every Mountain and consider your Favourite Things from 25 July to 7 September. These are just two of the four shows on offer at the venue next summer.

London Theatre Casting News:

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Thursday Theatre News: Stephen Fry, Christopher Eccleston, Les Mis and the Young Vic’s New Season http://blog.visitlondon.com/2012/02/thursday-theatre-news-stephen-fry-christopher-eccleston-les-mis-and-the-young-vic/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2012/02/thursday-theatre-news-stephen-fry-christopher-eccleston-les-mis-and-the-young-vic/#comments Thu, 16 Feb 2012 18:20:36 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=25548 All other theatre news has been rather eclipsed by today’s news that Stephen Fry is to appear at Shakespeare’s Globe this autumn.

Fry is perhaps better known as a TV presenter than an actor today, but I still remember him from Blackadder, Gosford Park and Wilde. And I’m thrilled he’s going to be performing alongside Mark Rylance and Samuel Barnett in Twelfth Night from September. It’s been rather a struggle to secure tickets online today, but if, like me, you were lucky enough to bag some, I think his Malvolio will be a real treat.

Details of other exciting casting comes from Les Mis this week. Three leading men will take the part of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables in 2012. Ramin Karimloo will continue to play the powerful lead until 31 March, when he’ll be replaced by a returning star: David Shannon (3 April to 16 June). The role will then be taken by West End newcomer Geronimo Rauch. Rauch may be new to the London production, but he’s played Valjean in Barcelona and previously played Marius in his native Argentina. He starts a year-long contract from 18 June.

My final piece of casting news for this week is Christopher Eccleston and Jodie Whittaker appearing at the National. Eccleston is one of my favourite actors, so I’m really excited to hear he’ll be playing Creon in Antigone from May this year. Whittaker plays the young niece, Antigone, doomed to be buried alive. It’s just one in a long list of exciting appearances at the National Theatre this summer: look out for Adrian Lester, Julie Walters, Cillian Murphy and Rory Kinnear take leading roles at the venue in coming months.

Elsewhere, the Young Vic has announced details of its upcoming season. From June, the theatre will offer Simon Stephens’ new updated version of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, directed by Carrie Cracknell. A Doll’s House will be followed by another updated classic, Three Sisters (from September), directed by Australian director Benedict Andrews. For more details of the venue’s forthcoming season, head to their website.

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Thursday Theatre News: 2012, Thandie Newton, Karen Gillan and David Suchet http://blog.visitlondon.com/2011/07/thursday-theatre-news-2012-thandie-newton-karen-gillan-and-david-suchet/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2011/07/thursday-theatre-news-2012-thandie-newton-karen-gillan-and-david-suchet/#comments Thu, 28 Jul 2011 17:08:28 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=22139 This week seems to have been dominated by news of London 2012. And London’s theatreland has been getting in on the action too. More than 20 shows have released tickets for the Olympic period, to ensure audiences can book theatre tickets if they’re coming to town for the Olympics or the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

For a full list of shows that have extended their booking into 2012, check out the Official London Theatre website.

Edward Hall’s all-male theatre company Propeller have also announced their 2012 plans. They’ll perform their Shakespearean pairing of Henry V and The Winter’s Tale at the Hampstead Theatre from 4 to 21 July.

Before we get to that all-important Olympic year, there’s still exciting casting news to think about. This week’s announcements include:

  • Hollywood star Thandie Newton, who’ll appear in Ariel Dorfman’s Death And The Maiden at the Comedy Theatre from October
  • Doctor Who star Karen Gillan (Amy Pond) is making her professional stage debut in Inadmissible Evidence at the Donmar, also in October
  • Another debut, this time from Hannah Spearritt (who you’ll know from Primeval, or if you’re my age, S Club 7!) in The Belle’s Stratagem at the Southwark Playhouse from September
  • And finally, a real favourite of mine, David Suchet’s going to be back on the London stage in Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night, at the Apollo Theatre. You’ll have to wait til next April for that one, I’m afraid.

Last of all if you’re a fan of London theatre: don’t forget Kids Week, next month!

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Thursday Theatre News: Ruby Wax, Railway Children and War Horse http://blog.visitlondon.com/2011/03/thursday-theatre-news-ruby-wax-railway-children-and-war-horse/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2011/03/thursday-theatre-news-ruby-wax-railway-children-and-war-horse/#comments Thu, 03 Mar 2011 17:30:01 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=20039 I’ve got three quick bites of theatre news for you this week.

If you’re not able to catch Ruby Wax at the Menier Chocolate Factory, where she’s currently performing Losing It (until 19 March), you’ll be pleased to hear she’s coming back in the summer.

You can now catch her show, which deals with the darkest moments of depression through poignant prose and funny songs for five weeks from 17 May.

Second up: great news about a return London journey for The Railway Children. The hit London show is back at its unique venue inside the former Eurostar terminal at Waterloo Station from 18 June until 4 September. If the you know anyone who’s a fan of E Nesbit’s book, trains, or just fantastic family entertainment, I’d thoroughly recommend taking them along to this show…

Finally, another fantastic family hit gets a cast refresh. Nicola Stephenson and Patrick Robinson join the cast of War Horse next week. The actors are best known for inhabiting the hallways of Holby General; they’ll now be playing in Michael Morpurgo’s Second World War drama at the New London Theatre.

Stephenson will play the protagonist’s mother, left worrying for her son’s life when he runs away to worn-torn France in search of his beloved horse, Joey. The actress’s numerous TV credits include Clocking Off, Law And Order and Larkrise To Candleford. Robinson plays German soldier Friedrich Muller. In addition to Casualty, Robinson is well known for his work on ITV drama The Bill. The pair joins War Horse as it enters its fifth year; the show’s recently celebrated its one millionth customer.

Finally, have you voted for your favourite show in the BBC Radio 2 Olivier Audience Award? The shortlist makes decisions difficult, with 4 fantastic musicals fighting it out for this year’s prize:

Have your say now at www.olivierawards.com/vote. The winner will be announced at the Olivier Awards on 13 March.

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Les Miserables at the Barbican http://blog.visitlondon.com/2010/09/les-miserables-at-the-barbican/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2010/09/les-miserables-at-the-barbican/#comments Mon, 27 Sep 2010 13:05:48 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=15016

Les Miserables has returned to the Barbican for a short-run of just 22 performances this September and early October.

I watched this adaptation of Victor Hugo’s novel last week and was blown away. It is spectacular.

The ensemble work is instrumental in delivering this brand new version of the world’s longest-running musical. It’s a powerful, heartfelt, crisp and visually stunning performance and the best musical I’ve ever seen.

The pace of the production is nearly perfect and is delivered with pin-point precision – barely a beat after the final scene this cast had the entire (very theatre-savvy) audience on its feet.

I sat next to the proud father of one of the cast who informed me that the art that comprised the backdrop of the set was Victor Hugo’s own work. The fact that the author’s images matched every other stylistic aspect of this production is testament to the passion, attention to detail and hard work that has been poured into this great piece of theatre.

Get a ticket – if you can.

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Thursday Theatre News: Railway Extensions, Pam Ann & Kylie The Musical? http://blog.visitlondon.com/2010/07/thursday-theatre-news-railway-extensions-blithe-spirit-black-watch-pam-ann-and-kylie-the-musical/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2010/07/thursday-theatre-news-railway-extensions-blithe-spirit-black-watch-pam-ann-and-kylie-the-musical/#comments Thu, 22 Jul 2010 16:29:19 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=12336

Firstly, great news for anyone who’s still eager to see the great Railway Children, featuring that real life steam train at Waterloo Station. The show’s run has been extended until January, making this a great alternative to the flurry of pantos that are sure to grace London’s stages in the festive season.

Casting news for this week features a spot of déjà vu: Cold Feet duo Robert Bathurst and Hermione Norris are pairing up as husband and wife again, this time in Blithe Spirit at the Apollo Theatre. They’re joining the ever-brilliant Alison Steadman in Noel Coward’s ghostly comedy, which opens next year.

And I’ve got details about two hit shows returning to London too: the Olivier Award-winning Blackwatch comes to the Barbican this November as part of a season which features a Polish Macbeth and that birthday Les Miserables. And Pam Ann, the comedy air hostess creation of Aussie Caroline Reid, brings her stand-up show Flying High to the Vaudeville Theatre in September.

Finally, and most excitingly, I’ve heard rumours this week of a brand new musical featuring Kylie’s greatest hits! According to Company, Kylie says:

“Yes, (stylist and creative director) William Baker and I are working on getting the story written. I’m comfortable because it’s not my life story; it’s about the interpretation of my music.”

We’ve already been thinking of possible plot lines and titles here at VL towers. Better The Devil You Know? Fever? Tears on My Pillow? There are so many top hits to choose from! Add any other ideas to the comments below!

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Thursday Theatre News: Shrek, Les Mis, Sister Act, and the Young Vic turns 40 http://blog.visitlondon.com/2010/07/thursday-theatre-news-shrek-les-mis-sister-act-and-the-young-vic-turns-40/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2010/07/thursday-theatre-news-shrek-les-mis-sister-act-and-the-young-vic-turns-40/#comments Thu, 08 Jul 2010 16:59:35 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=11732 It’s a long way off, but everyone’s favourite green ogre will make his West End debut next summer.

Shrek The Musical opens at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in June 2011, and is a stage version of the familiar film, with an original score by Jeanine Tesori and book and lyrics by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire. You could pair this show with a matinee of Wicked, and have a green-themed day in the West End!

Another West End debut from an American sees Whoopi Goldberg starring in Sister Act: The Musical for a limited period in August.

Goldberg, who plays Deloris can Cartier in the original film, will replace Sheila Hancock as Mother Superior from 10 to 31 August. Despite laughing off the idea of being in the show when it first opened (“I can’t do eight shows a week of anything!”) Whoopi does have a good pedigree of Broadway work, starring in A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Xanadu.

And I’ve got news of another big star returning to the West End later in the year.

Maureen Lipman will star in J B Priestley’s When We Are Married at the Garrick Theatre from 19 October. A consummate comedienne, Lipman last appeared in London in Trevor Nunn’s production of A Little Night Music, which earned her a Laurence Olivier Award nomination. Her other stage credits include Thoroughly Modern Millie, Wonderful Town!, Maureen Lipman Live And Kidding and See How They Run. Priestley’s play, When We Are Married sounds like a great vehicle for Lipman’s talent: a comedy about class hypocricy set in West Yorkshire at the turn of the century. I can’t wait.

You’ll probably be aware of the Les Mis 25th anniversary extravaganza due to take over The O2 in October. Well, there’s been a few more cast members announced. Ramin Karimloo (currently playing The Phantom in Love Never Dies) will play Enjolras, and Samantha Barks, who’s playing Eponine at the Queen’s Theatre at the moment will play the same part in the special anniversary concert.

Les Mis isn’t the only thing with a significant birthday this year. This morning I headed to the not-so-Young Vic to hear about plans for their 40th birthday, and to enjoy some birthday cupcakes!

David Lan, the artistic director talked us through the eclectic season of opera, musicals, drama, and children’s shows with his usual enthusiasm. The birthday season is an international affair, with Icelandic company Vesturport bringing Faust and other European associates and productions in the list.

Potential highlights for me included musical The Human Comedy (by Galt MacDermot, the composer behind Hair); Simon Stephens’s version of Jon Fosse’s I Am The Wind, directed by Patrice Chéreau (hard not to be impressed when David Lan tells you this director changed his life, and has always been working to create a theatre where that guy might one day want to come and work – wow); and children’s theatre company Fevered Sleep’s On Ageing, performed by children but aimed at adults.

Over at SOLT, here’s a more detailed list of all the 40th birthday excitement for the Young Vic this year. And there’s loads of tickets for £10 too! You’ve got no excuse not to go…

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